Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Following last month's strengthening of powers to better co-ordinate when street works are carried out, councils can now issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to any utility company which fails to give correct notice before digging up the roads. This new tool will improve the quality of the information councils use to co-ordinate street works, reducing disruption for all road users, residents and local businesses.
Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said:
"Disruption from street works costs the economy about £4.9 billion each year and ongoing roadworks are among road users' biggest concerns. These Fixed Penalty Notices are an additional new tool to encourage utility companies to give accurate and timely notices of works, thus helping councils co-ordinate street works, reducing disruption for road users, residents and businesses.
"Utility companies need to dig up the road to maintain essential services such as gas, electricity and water. However, they need to follow the rules we have put in place."
New street works regulations came into force last month, giving councils the ability to insist that utility companies give longer notice periods before starting works - improving co-ordination and making it possible to prevent multiple works in different streets in the same area at the same time.
FPNs can be issued against utilities for certain offences, such as failing to give councils enough notice about major works and not telling councils when the works are completed. Previously, councils had to take court action.
Authorities already have the power to charge undertakers, such as utility companies, if their works take longer than planned. Charges currently range from £100 to £2,000 a day.